Why Repair Matters
As a wireless retailer or prepaid retailer you might ask yourself this question; why does repair matter to me? After all, my business is all about selling phones, activating service, and selling accessories.
Repair is one of the fastest growing segments in wireless today, at an estimated 2 billion dollars through 2018. U.S. Economist and Professor Gregory Hamilton notes that nearly 25% of all smartphone users have cracked screens. Smartphones are ultra-portable devices with glass displays, and are often used in a one-handed fashion. Even though cracked screens makes up the largest percentage of smartphone repairs, they are not the only repair issue. Battery problems, speaker issues, camera issues, and even connectivity issues can all affect phone performance. The list of issues driving the mobile repair business are many. In addition, with the cost of smartphones continuing to rise, consumers are more willing than ever to invest in repairs, rather than have to pay off a lease on the phone, then start a new one on a replacement device.
There are currently over 2,000 repair shops across the country, with that number getting closer to 3,000 by the hour. With the barrier of entry being so low from a cost perspective, it’s also a very attractive business to start. Even more so for those who already operate stores, as you don’t need the large capital investment of opening a new storefront. We’ve all seen a decline in door swings; higher phone prices cause customers to keep their phones longer. Some prefer to buy online. Regardless of the reasons, most every retailer in wireless has seen the decline in foot traffic in their stores.
Adding repair is a natural extension of what you do. It makes you “full service” to your clients. Remember that every time you are unable to take care of a client’s needs it only increases the chance that the client may churn and never return. For the sake of repeat business, referrals, and every bit as important, incremental revenue, repair needs to be part of your over-all strategy. Think about it in this manner; years ago all we cared about was that new activation. Then eventually we cared about upgrades. Then add-on lines, then accessories. Repair gives people one more reason to visit your store. This means you have the opportunity to provide a repair, possibly sell them a certified pre-owned phone instead of doing the repair, selling accessories, and maybe even an extended warranty.
So if you insist on holding fast to your current business model and not add repair, don’t be surprised when a repair shop opens next to you, across from you, or at least on the same block. And don’t be surprised when they sell your customer a phone and accessories and don’t be surprised if that customer never comes back.
Let’s face it folks; business is an “adapt or die” environment. Don’t wait until a repair shop opens in your area. Act now and add repair to your portfolio of services and help future-proof your business.
Bob Lafon is Global Director of Mobility, Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations and Advisory Board Chairman for All Wireless & Prepaid Expo. Visit Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations on www.thinkdynamic.com.